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4 Trends Affecting Special Needs Transportation

The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) hosted a webinar to discuss the latest trends in disabilities with CEO Brooke Garcia of accessible school bus company 4Seasons and Marketing Managers Rose Ferreira and Maritza Valentin of wheelchair manufacturing company AMF Bruns. Each speaker brought forward a wealth of information and shared the 4 top trends to pay close attention to in the special needs transportation industry.


Increased Special Needs Ridership

With the world still reeling from the impacts of the pandemic, mental health has drastically changed, especially amongst children. More drivers are being utilized to support an increasing number of children with special needs. Despite the changes being made for in-person education, the normalization of an online environment and the decrease in daily interaction have undoubtedly left their mark and have resulted in an increase in needs. “You can never replace human connection,” says 4Seasons CEO Brooke Garcia.


More Disruptive Behaviour

As a result of less human interaction and more isolation, disruptive behaviour has increased. Garcia shares how an increase in isolation leads to less consistency within a child’s life, which is worsened if they have less support at home. It’s a harsh cycle that is “incredibly challenging for their mental health,” Garcia states. And not just for the children, but for those who care for them on a daily basis.


Specialized Care & Support

A positive trend is the increased support and specialized care for children with special needs. More attention has been given to ensure training is consistent and focused on enhancing overall care for children who live with disabilities. Garcia also discusses how employees at 4Seasons are ready and able to step in and be a driver to support students if need be: “We train everyone to be a driver.” After all, she herself started as a driver.


Increased Use of Technology

“Technology is a huge support to ensure we are communicating effectively,” explains Garcia. Technology expedites the communication process and allows all employees to stay in the loop with important information – whether it’s for individualized student transportation plans or simply an update on how a particular day went. However, Garcia stresses that technology will not and cannot replace human connection.


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